On the WIP Side – 7.01.2020

As always, I hope you are still all staying safe, happy and sane. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope it brings you some joy during this tumultuous time. Definitely check out my YouTube channel to see any projects “in person.”
For Ravelry users: There are links throughout this post that link to Ravelry. If you are experiencing issues with the new Ravelry design, you may not want to click on those links. You can also see pictures on my instagram account, youtube channel or feel free to go to the contact form and send me a note if you have any questions.

Total: 7 WIPs (3 active)
Knitting:
5 projects -1 sweater, 2 shawls, 1 pair of socks and 1 blanket
Crochet: 
1 project – 1 blanket
Spinning:
1 project
Finished: 1 project
2020 Total Finished: 15

J’s Tube Socks – DONE
Pattern: Socks for Gnomes and Giants / Red and the Wolf Designs
Yarn: agirlandherwool / Sock / One of a Kind
Needles: Size 0 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 6/14/2020 (there abouts)
Cast off: 6/22/2020

Since we last spoke, I both cast on and cast off a pair of tube socks for my niece. If you have been reading this and have a great memory, my niece saw a skein of one of my one of a kind skeins and wanted socks out of them. The overall color in the skein was green, but there some bits of blue and red as well. She called it the “Poison Ivy” yarn and wanted “Poison Ivy” clothes. I told her one skein of yarn couldn’t make a shirt, pants and dress, as she requested, so we settled on socks. This was back on Thanksgiving. She knew she wasn’t going to have them before Christmas and I’m so glad I got them done in time for her birthday, 7 months later. Good thing about kids is they do not care.

It was getting close to her birthday and I realized I really just needed to get these done. I haven’t been in much of a knitting groove lately and I think setting this deadline for myself helped. Long ago, I wound off the yarn into 2 identical balls so I could knit these two at a time. The pattern is a tube sock meaning there is no heel and you just make them as long as you need. I followed the directions on how long to make them. It’s a spiral rib pattern, which does add interest. I believe the ribbing on there also helps as the kid grows.

If you’re new to tube socks, they’re designed to not have a heel and also usually includes ribbing so that the kid won’t grow out of them as their feet grow. The idea is they’ll last for a few years that way. I knit the kids size, which should be good for my niece, they do in fact fit now and it’ll be interesting to see how long they last. It is summer now, so I’m not sure how much use they will get now, but my niece did seem happy to get them. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there to give them to her in person, but luckily we have video chats that are better than nothing.

Drachenfels Shawl
Pattern: Drachenfels / Melanie Berg
Yarn: Suburban Stitcher / Single Sock / Darkest Hour, Clementine and Sweet Adeline
Needles: Size 4 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 3/18/2020
Cast off goal: None

Are you sick of this shawl? I don’t blame you. I’m not really sick of it because I’m enjoying the simple garter stitch, but there’s really not that much to continue talking about. I am up to the edging, which means it should be done in the next week or so. I have a 4 day weekend upcoming and boy do I have plans. I really do plan on a lot of relaxation, knitting and of course, some dyeing.

Magnolia Socks
Pattern: Magnolia Socks / Helen Stewart
Yarn: agirlandherwool / BFL sock base / Golden Hour
Needles: Size 0 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 5/26/2020
Cast off goal: None

The first sock is done! I haven’t cast on the second though, so ya know, it is what it is. This sock was part of the cast on party I had quite a while ago. It worked out so well when I needed a project and this sock was just ready to go! For now, I hope to finish up some other projects before coming back to this one.

I found this pattern a bit harder to memorize than some of the others from this collection. I don’t know what it was about it, but I definitely had a harder time knowing which row I should be on and had to look back at the pattern quite a bit. Otherwise, it was pretty straightforward. I did a standard 2×2 cuff this time around along with a fish lips kiss heel.

Altheda Sweater
Pattern: Altheda / Jennifer Steingass
Yarn: Rauma Finull PT 2
Needles: Size 1 Needles (neckline), Size 2 Needles (Body) and Size 3 Needles (colorwork)
Gauge: This is actually a funny story
Cast on: 6/9/2020
Cast off goal: None

I seriously hadn’t worked on this probably since I last posted. I guess that means I really didn’t do anything at all besides what I cast on for it during the cast on party. In the past week or so, I’ve knit through about half of the yoke. I think generally, yokes go pretty quick because you get into a nice rhythm of the colorwork and it’s always nice to see it come together.

You might remember that I talked about knitting three different contrast colors into this sweater. I’ve since decided that I’m going to just knit it with the white (who saw that coming) and keep the other skeins for something else. I think the blue would make a great main color for a sweater and then I might use the brown for the cuffs. I dont know. I don’t have to decide today.

I’m not sure if that means that I will run out of the white, but I can always order an additional skein if I need to.

Other
1. Spinning – I did spin! I’m hoping to finish the first half of the braid this weekend.
2. Northeasterly – I worked in another color or 2.
3. I’m working on a test knit out of my newest gradient, Mountain Springs Lake. It is a blue to brown gradient. Once I finish up the test knit, I will talk more about this pattern.

Inactive
1. Neat Ripple – This is on hold until I finish up the charity items with the colors that I have used so far.

What’s Next?
Really just making progress on everything I have on the needles. I also have a crochet project that I hope to cast on soon, but I want to cast off a bit first.

Shop
As I mentioned, there’s a new gradient in the shop. There’s also mystery yarn of the month clubs and advent calendars still available.

New products are coming soon, so stay tuned!

Check out the shop here. There are some great kits for shawls and socks along with good pairings for sweaters. Let me know if you need help with some color selections.

Introducing New Mystery Yarn of the Month Clubs

I’m so excited to announce that I will now be offering mystery yarn of the month clubs. There are some options, as I usually do, so keep reading to see some of the fun details including a rewards program!

I’ve been toying around with the idea of doing a yarn of the month club, mystery style, for a while now. It seems like a lot of fun to participate in and as a dyer, a fun challenge to create. The July Yarn of the Month skeins are currently available for purchase in my shop and will be based on the photograph of the fireworks above. The July skein will start shipping on June 22nd and will be available until July 31st. The August skein will be available in mid-July through the end of August. The pattern will continue as such.

Each mystery skein will have an optional contrast skein that you can order with each purchase.

All mystery skeins will not become regular colorways until at least 3 months after the listing expires, if at all. They may never actually be listed in the shop as regular colorways, so this may just be the only chance!

There will also be a 3 month option. The 3 month clubs will be a rolling option. For example, right now you can purchase July – September (as pictured above) until July 31st. In mid-July, there will be a new option for August – October that will be available until the end of August. In other words, you will never have to wait 3 months to join in!

So, you can choose to do 1 month at a time or choose to do 3 months at a time. You can jump in and out as you want. I won’t reveal what the color of the month looks like until well after orders are received.

There will be a rewards program with the Yarn of the Month Clubs!

Here are the details for the rewards program. It will be different for the two club options and you can let me know if you have any questions at any point.

  • One Month Yarn of the Month clubs
    For each solo month yarn of the month club, you will accumulate points to earn 10% off coupons. For every 100g you purchase, you will earn a 10% coupon code. The grams will accumulate month to month but the points will expire every 12 months. Only the grams of the mystery skein will count. The contrast skeins will not be included in the totals.
    Some examples:
    The same customer purchases the following-
    July: 50g mystery skein
    August: 50g mystery skein
    10% off coupon will be mailed with the August skein

    The same customer purchases the following:
    July: 50g mystery skein and 20g contrast skein
    50g running total
    November: 30g mystery skein
    80g running total
    December: 40g mystery skein and 10g contrast skein
    10% off coupon will be sent with the December skein
    20g running total
  • Three Month Yarn of the Month clubs
    If you purchase a 3 month yarn club, you will receive a coupon code no matter how much yarn you order. The value of the coupon code will be equal to the total grams / 10. You will receive the coupon code with the first skein that ships. Only the grams of the mystery skeins will count.
    Some examples:
    3x10g mystery skeins = 3% off coupon
    3x50g mystery skeins = 15% off coupon
    3x100g mystery skeins = 30% off coupon

    Additional details for both clubs:
    – The coupon will be listed on your receipt with the order in which you earned the discount.
    – The coupon will be valid for 3 months from the date of issue. This date will be listed with the coupon code.
    – Coupon codes will exclude advent calendars and 8 nights of Hanukkah listings. This excluded list may change but will always be communicated in the shop announcements section of my shop. It will also be on the yarn of the month listings. They will always be available for the standard colorway listings (“any size skeins”) and yarn kits.
    – If a return is made for a yarn of the month club (I may not allow this, but if I do…) a coupon code may become deactivated depending on the situation. This will be communicated upon request for a return. If an order was already made with the discount code, the refund for the return skein may be adjusted accordingly.
    – I will be tracking the running totals in my own records. If you ever want a status of your totals, please message me and I’ll be happy to help!
    – I reserve the right to make changes, but you’ll never lost the points you have already earned.

You can check out the listings now in my shop.

FO Friday – Painting Bricks Shawl

I’m a day late, but nonetheless, I have a finished object to share with you all. This week I’m talking all about the gigantic Painting Bricks Shawl, a pattern by Stephen West.

The usual details first:
Pattern: Painting Bricks Shawl / Stephen West
Yarn: Main Color: agirlandherwool / Sock Base / Denim
Contrast Color: agirlandherwool / Sock Base / Neon Unicorn Gradient
Needles: Size 4
Cast on: 4/25/2020
Cast off: 6/8/2020
The pattern page on Ravelry can be found here.

I feel like knitting this shawl is a lot like running a race. At first, you’re excited, at some point you’re thinking ‘okay this is going on for a while’ and then at the end you think ‘I’ve been doing this forever’ until after you’ve crossed that finish line and think ‘that wasn’t so bad. I could have done waaay better.’

I’m always looking and thinking of great patterns to use as samples for my shop. In particular, I love dyeing mini skeins, mini skein sets and gradients. THey’re just so fun to dye and look at. I often get asked “I love this, but what should do I do with it.” I recently held a virtual trunk show and prepped for this question by looking up quite a few patterns. One of them was a new-ish pattern from Stephen West, the Painting Bricks shawl. It’s designed to be knit up with minis and the way the pattern is, it just seemed like such a good gradient pattern. Now that I’m done, I still believe that!

Overall, this pattern is really simple and looks great. If you are a newer knitter, definitely give this a shot, but expect for it to take a while. The rows get long.

I knit this using 15g mini skeins of the Neon Unicorn gradient from my shop. As the row start off short and get longer (I’ll probably remind you of this many times), the first few colors cover a lot more repeats of the pattern than the later ones. I decided to try and control this a bit by having a plan to use less of the turquoise skeins and more of the pink skeins. I should also say that the first change I made to the pattern was to not cut the contrast colors at the end of each repeat. The way the pattern is set up is you do each repeat (or row of bricks) in one color and then move onto the next. He then repeats his color progression throughout the shawl. I knew I wanted to just go through the gradient once and so I did not cut the contrast skeins after each row of bricks.

Once I knit to the border, I realized I didn’t use enough of the blue skeins and I wasn’t going to have enough to finish the shawl. I made the (not so hard) decision to rip it back. I will say that if this wasn’t going to be for a shawl sample, I would have kept going and just ended the shawl early. But anyway, I ended up ripping back most of the shawl at this point. I believe it was back to the 3rd mini skein.

I got back to the border, which is a chevron pattern. In the sample that Stephen shows with the pattern, he starts his color progression over again at the start of the border. I think this helps to separate the body of the shawl from the border. In my version, it just started somewhere in the pink skeins and so there was really no clear cut separation from the body to the border. I wasn’t a huge fan of how that was working out and so once again, I ripped it back. I ended up just knitting more repeats of the body recipe until I ran out of yarn. In the end, for the gradient style, I think the crescent shape shawl looks great and I wouldn’t change anything about it.

Well. Just one thing. It is HUGE. This shawl is so big! I will say that I didn’t get gauge. I do normally swatch for patterns, but I do not swatch for shawls. To me, that doesn’t really matter as it doesn’t need to fit. If I were to do this pattern again, I would knit it with a much smaller needle and remove some of the repeats. This means that I probably would have been fine to just knit it the way I originally had it without most of the blue skeins and it would have turned out with a much better fit. When I first washed it, it went down to my knees! Now, I’m short, but it went down to my knees!! My knees! So, I did something I’ve never done before. I put the shawl into the dryer.

Yup. The dryer.

I put my shawl into the dryer and you know what, it turned out fine! We all are here to tell the tale. I put it in (still wet) for about 10 minutes. Nothing seemed to have really changed then, so I did it for another 20. At this point, it was much dryer and maybe a tad smaller. I decided to just lay it out at that point and see what happened.

Now that it’s dry, it goes down to my waist. Better, but the width of it is also so large (being crescent and not triangular) and so to me, it’s just not wearable. Again, I’m totally fine with that as it’s meant to be a sample and not worn. It’ll do a great job showing off the gradient kit, which is why I knit it up in the first place.

Overall, I’m happy with the results although I would change some things (smaller needles, less yarn). I would also consider knitting the rectangular Painting Bricks wrap next time instead. I think without the change in the length of rows, it’ll work better for the gradient. Go check it out!

Stay tuned for an update on all of my WIPs this upcoming Wednesday. After I finished this shawl, I picked up a few projects from my recent cast on party.

You can always check out my YouTube channel if you like seeing videos as well. There’s a new video up where I talk more about this shawl.

On the WIP Side – 6.10.2020

As always, I hope you are still all staying safe, happy and sane. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope it brings you some joy during this tumultuous time. Definitely check out my YouTube channel to see any projects “in person.”

Definitely in the beginning phase of projects

Total: 6 WIPs (2 active)
Knitting:
4 projects -1 sweater, 1 shawl, 1 pair of socks and 1 blanket
Crochet: 
1 project – 1 blanket
Spinning:
1 project
Finished: 1 project
2020 Total Finished: 14

Painting Bricks Shawl – DONE!
Pattern: Painting Bricks / Stephen West
Yarn: agirlandherwool / Sock base / Neon Unicorn gradient and Denim
Needles: Size 4 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 4/25/2020
Cast off goal: 6/7/2020
Cast off date: 6/8/2020

I finished the Painting Bricks shawl! The behemoth is complete. You’ll get to read all about it this Friday in my FO Friday post. I was mostly finished with it when I posted last week, so this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, but I am happy to have it done. As expected, it is enormous. I chose to do the i-cord bind off instead of a normal one, which I finished up last night!

Drachenfels Shawl
Pattern: Drachenfels / Melanie Berg
Yarn: Suburban Stitcher / Single Sock / Darkest Hour, Clementine and Sweet Adeline
Needles: Size 4 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 3/18/2020
Cast off goal: None

I have not made any progress on this during the week mostly because I was sharing the needles between this and the Painting Bricks shawl. Whenever I would pull out this project, I also needed to bring out the other project. I was so focused on finishing the painting bricks shawl that I would then end up just working on it instead. I’m definitely ready and focused on this one and want to finish it soon. I’m working on a sweater now, which you’ll see later in this post, that will eventually become stockinette for a while, so that will become my next reading project. The goal is to finish this before I get to that point of the sweater.

Magnolia Socks
Pattern: Magnolia Socks / Helen Stewart
Yarn: agirlandherwool / BFL sock base / Golden Hour
Needles: Size 0 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 5/26/2020
Cast off goal: None

These have certainly become a grab and go project. I can’t lie, that’s how socks go. I did pick them up and work on them for quite a while during the Sunday sit and stitch that I attend. It was actually easier to work on than the icord bind off would have been on my shawl. I don’t have to look down as much for most rows of this sock and it just makes virtually chatting that much easier. At this point, I am at the heel. In fact, I knit one row of the heel (who does that?) and plan to finish that soon. I’m going to be focused on the sweater (next item) as well. These will continue to be a good grab and go project.

The sock looks about the same, with just a few more repeats complete

Altheda Sweater
Pattern: Altheda / Jennifer Steingass
Yarn: Rauma Finull PT 2
Needles: Size 1 Needles (neckline), Size 2 Needles (Body) and Size 3 Needles (colorwork)
Gauge: This is actually a funny story
Cast on: 6/9/2020
Cast off goal: None

The colors for the sweater. The pink on the left is the main color.

During my cast on party, I cast on a sweater to have ready for when I needed it. I have to say, I have loved the effects of this cast on party. The Magnolia socks were also a result of it. Not sure what I mean, head over to my YouTube channel to watch the video (linked on the ‘cast on party’ at the beginning of this paragraph). I sat and chatted while casting on various projects to have ready to go.

I finished my Painting Bricks shawl Monday night and having a sweater already to go where I don’t need to find needles, swatch, figure out the sizing, cast on and do the beginning rows is amazing. The hard part of starting a new project is done with and I get to have the fun part of working on a fresh project. It’s really fun.

I’m going to be knitting the Altheda sweater, which is a colorwork yoke sweater. I originally bought this yarn for another sweater, but I could not get gauge. While this is a fingering weight yarn, it knits up like DK for me and so I am going to be knitting a pattern in that gauge instead. The pattern only calls for one contrast color, but I’m going to break it up into the 3 that I had ready to go for the project.

If you’ve never knit with this yarn, a lot of people rave about it. It’s a non-superwash yarn, but it is soft and comfy in my opinion. It’s definitely softer than Jamieson and Smith (again, in my opinion) and so I can totally see this being my go to colorwork yarn. I will definitely keep you updated on this as I work on the project more and even as I wear it. I’m just a few rows in (which you can see in the first photo of this post), so I’m no expert yet.

You’ll see more pics of this in the weeks to come and you can always follow me on instagram as agirlandhewrool for more regular updates.

Other
1. Spinning – Did not spin
2. Northeasterly – No progress.

Inactive
1. Neat Ripple – This is on hold until I finish up the charity items with the colors that I have used so far.

What’s Next?
I’m about to pick up my Altheda sweater, as I have mentioned. I also have plans to pick up a charity project as well as a pair of tube socks for my niece. Her birthday is later this month and she has been asking for socks for a while. I’ve never done tube socks, but I think it’ll go quick!

Shop
There are multiple advent calendar options in the shop in addition to a few 8 Nights of Hanukkah options. I also released some fun new summer colorways, so definitely go check those out.

As always, I have pairings already set up that you can order at a discount and not worry about deciding which colorways go together.

New products are coming soon, so stay tuned!

Check out the shop here. There are some great kits for shawls and socks along with good pairings for sweaters. Let me know if you need help with some color selections.

On the WIP Side – 6.3.2020

As always, I hope you are still all staying safe, happy and sane. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope it brings you some joy during this tumultuous time. Definitely check out my YouTube channel to see any projects “in person.”

Shawls are growing and a new sock!

Total: 6 WIPs (3 active)
Knitting:
4 projects – 2 shawls, 1 pair of socks and 1 blanket
Crochet: 
1 project – 1 blanket
Spinning:
1 project
Finished: 1 project
2020 Total Finished: 13

Honey Bee Dance Socks – DONE
Pattern: Honey Bee Dance Socks / Helen Stewart / Curious Handmade
Yarn: One Twisted Tree / Prime / Rare Woman Claire
Needles: Size 0 DPNs
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 3/29/2020
Cast off goal: 4/19/2020
Cast off date: 4/23/2020

It’s been so long since I did a WIP post that I guess I never showed this finished. Well – they are finished and check out this FO Friday post about the socks if you haven’t already.

Drachenfels Shawl
Pattern: Drachenfels / Melanie Berg
Yarn: Suburban Stitcher / Single Sock / Darkest Hour, Clementine and Sweet Adeline
Needles: Size 4 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 3/18/2020
Cast off goal: None

I really took a break on this shawl as I was focused on the next project you will see here. I did pick it back up recently and I’m finished with the striping and onto the last garter ridge section before the border. I do expect this to be done before fall, haha. That probably seems so far away, but I really just work on this here and there and am happy to have a simple project when I need it.

Painting Bricks Shawl – NEW!
Pattern: Painting Bricks / Stephen West
Yarn: agirlandherwool / Sock base / Neon Unicorn gradient and Denim
Needles: Size 4 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 4/25/2020
Cast off goal: 6/7/2020

I cannot believe this project is considered new on the blog. I probably started it the day after I last posted and have been working on it ever since. I feel as though I’ve knitted this shawl 3 times already because of the number of times I’ve ripped it back and kept going.

Way too large for the photo!

As you can see in the above picture, I’m knitting this out of my Neon Unicorn gradient. This is a gradient that goes from a deep turquoise into a lighter blue and then a hot pink. There are various speckles throughout the gradient. The main color, the outlines, is Denim, which a tonal denim blue.

The way the pattern is written is that each set of bricks is one color and you cut the contrast color at the end of each repeat. In the sample, Stephen goes through his repeat of colors throughout the shawl. In my version, I decided to just use the gradient as one long gradient. This means that most of the shawl is blue with wider, but less rows, of the pink.

At first, I was trying to control this by using less of the blue and planned to use more of the pink later on. Once I got to the border, I quickly realized this wasn’t going to work out and I would have ended up with less rows of the total shawl. As I planned to use this for a shop sample, I really didn’t want it to come across like I didn’t have enough yarn, even though I used less on purpose early on.

I ended up ripping back most of the shawl to maybe the 3rd blue color. There are 10 total colors and I was probably on the 8th or 9th at the time, so it was a lot of ripping back. I then got back to the border and started working on it again, satisfied with the amount of yarn I had left.

It didn’t take long for me to not be excited about the chevron border. I felt like it was getting lost in the gradient because there was no clear cut color change like there is in the original pattern. So, I decided to do away with the chevron and just continue the recipe of the body of the shawl for the remainder of the yarn. I think this will work out better and continue to show off the gradient design.

Overall, the pattern goes quickly when you only knit it once. It’s easy enough with just knits and purls for the most part. When I finish the shawl, I’ll go into a little more detail on my thoughts on it. I expect to finish it this week and feature it for the next FO Friday post next week.

Magnolia Socks – NEW!
Pattern: Magnolia Socks / Helen Stewart
Yarn: agirlandherwool / BFL sock base / Golden Hour
Needles: Size 0 Needles
Gauge: IDK
Cast on: 5/26/2020
Cast off goal: None

In case you missed it, I did a bit of a cast on party over on my YouTube channel, which you can view here.

One of the projects I cast on during that session was a pair of socks in my newest base, BFL sock, in my Golden Hour colorway. It’s a tonal color of a golden yellow with bits of brown throughout it as well.

As you’ve seen before on this blog, I have been knitting socks from the Handmade Sock Society season 1 set. The magnolia socks is the last design left that I haven’t knit and plan to knit. I do also plan to make some of these again. It’s a cabley and lacey design meant to look like flowers. In some ways, it is similar to the Honey Bee Dance socks, but they are different and do look different in the end.

I picked these up after needing some time away from the Painting Bricks shawl. For that reason, I really do have to say that the cast on party worked. It was extremely nice to have a pair of socks ready to go without having to do all of the prep work. As the toe was already cast on, all I needed to do was just go on the pattern. After about 2 repeats, I had the pattern memorized and so I have been able to take these socks around with me, which really is what socks are all about.

A good tonal colorway with a fun design, all on my favorite DPNs. What’s to complain about?

I do find it funny that I continue to knit on socks even though I keep saying I’m tired of them. I have to say that while knitting on these socks, I feel less worn out from them than I have from other pairs. Maybe because the only other projects that I have are huge shawls with extremely long rows. Nothing beats a small round like a pair of socks.

They’re flowing well and I do love how this colorway is knitting up. I used the same colorway in my Time Trades Shawl and so while it’s not completely knew, it is on a new base and the only colorway, so it seems different. No pressure to finish these socks as I only picked them up in a time of need, but I have been enjoying them and hope to continue to do so.

Other
1. Spinning – Did not spin
2. Northeasterly – I made a bit of progress as I work on this before bed.

Inactive
1. Neat Ripple – This is on hold until I finish up the charity items with the colors that I have used so far.

What’s Next?
When I finish the Painting Bricks shawl, I will pick up the Altheda sweater that I cast on during my cast on party. I plan to knit through the colorwork until it becomes a stockinette body. Otherwise, not too many other plans right now.

Shop
There are multiple advent calendar options in the shop in addition to a few 8 Nights of Hanukkah options. I also released some fun new summer colorways, so definitely go check those out.

As always, I have pairings already set up that you can order at a discount and not worry about deciding which colorways go together.

New products are coming soon, so stay tuned!

Check out the shop here. There are some great kits for shawls and socks along with good pairings for sweaters. Let me know if you need help with some color selections.

A Change in Pace

We all live busy lives and right now, things are looking a bit different than they have before. Some people have more time on their hands, others have … different times on their hands. In situations like this, how do you cope? What new things excite you that you didn’t know would before (ahem… getting everything on the grocery list)?

In “normal” life, I always made sure I found time to knit. Work was never stressful to me in the probably standard definition of work stress. I’m able to get my tasks done, I work with nice people and really don’t have a stressful job. It gets busy, sure, but stressful? Not really. Everything can and will get done. People can and will be dealt with and at the end of the day, I’m fortunate to go home and forget it all. This varies between people in my workplace, but I’ve always been able to separate work from home.

Seemed like a good opportunity for a cat pic

That doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted at the end of the day! My commute is about an hour each way, but there can be train delays and traffic accidents that slow it down. I typically go to the gym as well, which means I’m out of the house for about 12+ hours a day. When I do come home, dinner needs to be cooked, dishes need to be cleaned and general prep work for the next day needs to happen. Packing up clothes, packing breakfast, packing lunch… and on and on. I also end up exhausted just from being around coworkers all day. It sounds terrible, but it does take patience to remain professional all day long. I mean, even walking to the bathroom, you generally run into someone and small talk happens and really all you want to say is “HI MY BLADDER IS FULL, IT’S NICE TO SEE YOU TOO, BUT LET’S CHAT SOME OTHER TIME OK?” Exhausting.

I’m definitely an introvert, which adds to it. In any case, I found that at the end of the day, I needed to knit for some amount of time. It calmed me, relaxed me and allowed me to prepare for the next day.

Typical – on the couch after dinner with some knitting!

So what now? While it might seem like I should have more knitting time, I’m finding I have less. For example, the table that I work at while being at home has had some things piling up on it that just needed to get put away. When you’re out of the house 5 days a week, it’s less important. When you’re staring at it all day long, all you can think about is putting all of that away. Sounds simple right? But then that leads to a “why did we leave this out in the first place? Oh that’s right, we were going to call these people about such and such project. Oh that’s right, I need to research blah blah blah before I call them” and before you know it, the weekends over and you’re back to working and staring at the stuff. Am I alone in this?

In the end, I’m finding I have less crafting time because … why? Maybe I have the same amount of time but because I’m overall less exhausted, I don’t make the time for it like I used to? I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Did I used to have more time or more need? As an introvert stuck at home, I’m emotionally more energetic, I have less headaches and that weird nausea I’d sometimes get on my way home from work. Maybe I’m relying on crafting less to get me through my day. When I used to go into the office, I’d take a lunch break in a quiet area of the building and knit. Now at home, I never take a knitting lunch break. I never even thought about it. I used to countdown to the minutes until I could. Now I don’t.

Me knitting at work during lunch

So I guess, is crafting something you like to do becuase you like to do it or is something you like to do because of some other reason? I always thought that I liked being crafty, but now I’m wondering if it really was a forced way to relax. Trust me, I still enjoy knitting, I still look forward to it and enjoy it but I also think that I look forward to it and enjoy it more when I’m at the end of a long to do list.

So maybe for you it isn’t crafting. Maybe you always do it, but is there something that usually goes first when something in life changes? Do you need to craft to keep your day in order? Do you only craft when you have free time? I honestly sat down to write this about how when I get busy, knitting seems to be the thing to fall off the list. I use it as a reward after finishing up everything else that has to get done. Now that I think about it though, I used to enforce having knitting time because it felt like the one time of day that was mine and I could do what I wanted to do. I think I’m actually enforcing it less because some of the things that exhausted me before are not here anymore. Interesting.

I appreciate the chat and I’d love to hear about how you’re all coping with the pandemic and how your crafts are incorporated into it. Do you find you have less time for it or more? Have the projects you are working on changed? How are doing overall?

FO Friday – Honey Bee Dance Socks

Another finished object! Again, I finished these a while ago at this point, but I’m so glad to finally be talking about them.

The usual details first:
Pattern: Honey Bee Dance Socks / Helen Stewart / Curious Handmade
Yarn: One Twisted Tree / Prime base / Rare Woman Claire
Needles: Size 0 dpns
Cast on: 3/29/2020
Cast off: 4/23/2020
The pattern page on Ravelry can be found here.

It’s a little ironic that I cast on these socks because I’ve talked a lot how I’m not in a socks place and yet look at this. There are a lot of pros for socks:
1. They’re pretty quick. Especially if you think of them as two finished objects, which let’s be honest, why don’t we?
2. You can never have enough socks because they eventually are worn through + who wants to handwash socks that often + if you don’t need them, someone else does.
3. Generally, we can all knit socks without too much thought as long as we use our standard patterns. If you’re new to sock knitting – trust me – it’ll happen. Honestly? Right when you get to the point of knitting socks in your sleep, you stop wanting too…. like me. Then you knit them anyway.

Anyway, I bought the Handmade Sock Society season 1 set before it came out officially. Every two months, I received a new pattern in my library for an entire year! If you love knitting patterned socks, Helen offers an amazing deal for the quality work she sells. I forget what the cost was exactly, but even if you don’t like most of the patterns in the set, it’s still worth it for the couple you will. You’ll like most of them. I didn’t knit them as they came out because I was working on a lot of other things, as we all do, and decided I would be happy to knit them as I wanted to without feeling obligated to keep up with the various knit a longs. At this point, I’ve knit 4 out of the 6 patterns and have the 5th on the needles. Yup, I have more socks on the needles. Just ignore me. I don’t think I will knit the 6th because I’m not a huge fan and there really are endless amounts of sock patterns so I don’t really need to knit one just because it’s in a set.

I also would knit a bunch of them again. The Red Robin socks in particular is such a great pattern. It’s just a simple pattern that you don’t need to pay attention to and really adds some fun to the socks. It would be great for variegated or tonal yarn. I digress.

Back to the Honey Bee Dance socks. The pattern is just along the top of the foot and the front of the leg. It has an identical cable pattern along the outside with the simple lace/stockinette design in the middle that does in fact look like an insect of some sort. It is much more pretty than that description.

See? Pretty!

After a few repeats, I was able to master the pattern and just knit on these wherever without too much thinking. At one point, the cable pattern became uneven between the two sides. I did end up ripping it back because I thought it was just a few rows back. However, that darn heel was in the middle of those ‘few rows’ and so it turned into me ripping back quite a bit. That being said, they did go fairly quickly and I’m happy to have them complete.

This was around when I ripped back passed the heel. So close!

I did my own toe, a fish lips kiss heel, my own stitch count and ribbing. I also knit them toe up instead of cuff down. The only thing that makes this the Honey Bee Dance socks is the stitch design on the front. If you are curious to hear more about how I knit my socks, check out the FO Friday post on my YouTube channel for these socks. I talk all about it there. I did use a 1×1 twisted rib for the cuff, which isn’t my usual pattern. It was because I knit the socks with 52 stitches and at the time I thought that wouldn’t word with a 2×2 rib. I dont know. I can’t always be a mathematician I guess. We all need time off!

So another pair of socks in the books. I have 13 finished projects on the year, which I’m pretty stoked about. I spend a lot of my ‘knitting time’ dyeing these days and so I’m well on target to reach my standard 25 projects for the year. Of the 13, 3 are socks, which seems about right. I thought it would be 0, but I still consistently have them on the needles. What can I say?

Stay tuned for an update on all of my WIPs this upcoming Wednesday. I’ve been pretty monogamous and therefore boring, but I am finishing and starting projects so you will get a full update! If you missed my cast on party on YouTube, go check it out!

You can always check out my YouTube channel if you like seeing videos as well!

Shop Update – 5.25.2020 at 8pm ET

Hi everyone! I’m updating the shop tonight with a few new summer colorways. I introduced one last week, but I didn’t write about it here, so I’m including it as well.The update is tonight, Monday, May 25th at 8pm ET. Keep reading below to see what will go into the shop. You can also see a vlog about it on my YouTube channel, agirlandherwool.
There is a GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!

Peach Perfect, Hello Gorgeous! and Plotzing are all new tonight!
That Summer launched last week!

Plotzing
Plotzing is returning to shop! I’ve changed the formula just a little bit to add a bit more blue to it. Overall, it’s a bright turquoise tonal yarn with blue streaks and black speckles. This colorway was developed as an ode to the beautiful Caribbean Sea. I love the colors of those waters. When my family heads to the beach, we often ‘plotz’ in the water, meaning we sit on the edge of just let the water pass over you. It’s a time to just sit, chat, laugh and be silly. Plotzing is a bright color that will pair well with others in my shop. I showed a few pairings on the shop update youtube video if you are interested in seeing more. I plan to post a few pairing listings in the shop!

Peach Perfect
Peach Perfect is another color returning to the shop. This is one that I reformulated quite a bit. It’s even more tonal and almost variegated. There are also some navy speckles on there to bring some more dimension to it. It’s another fun and bright colorway that works well with others in my shop.

Hello Gorgeous!
Hello Gorgeous! is the new neutral in my shop. With all of the recent bright colors, I wanted to make sure I added in a neutral as well. Hello Gorgeous! started during a testing session with some mystery mini skeins. I loved the colorway and decided it need to be added to the shop. After I dyed it, I just kept thinking about it reminded me of my grandmother. Whenever I called her, she would answer the phone with “Hello GAWGEOUS!” just like in Funny Girl. Hello Gorgeous! pairs well with the new colors also being introduced in the shop and with many others as well. It’s a fun gray base with speckles of a couple of browns and dark gray. The speckles makes the neutral more fun to work with.

That Summer
I introduced That Summer last week into the shop so you can certainly go get it now! That Summer is the Splash Pad Party exclusive colorway, meaning that it will leave the shop at on July 31st and may or may not appear next summer. It’s a coral/orange base with lots of blues and purples throughout the skein. It is such a fun and bright beachy colorway that will be great for socks and really anything that needs some brightening. It’s also available as a 5 skein ‘mini skein’ set. I always call it a mini skein set, but you can order them in skeins up to 100g each! The title refers to everything we are all going through right now. I can definitely see myself saying ‘you know that summer when…’ and we’ll all know exactly which summer.

The shop will be updated at 8pm ET on Monday, May 25th. I hope to see you there! Again, for a full run down, check out my vlog on YouTube.

But before you do, check out this fun GIVEAWAY!
I will be giving away one 100g skein on my sock base in one of the three new colors – Plotzing, Peach Perfect or Hello Gorgeous! To enter, comment on this post with 2 things.
First – if you win, which color do you want to receive? This is the color that I will send to you as the winner.
Second – what’s something you are looking for in my shop? A certain color, a new base, more sets, yarn clubs…? Anything you want to see from agirlandherwool?

You have until Friday, May 29th to enter. You can also enter by answering the same questions over on the Shop Update video on my Youtube channel. There will only be one winner so it might come from here or from YouTube.

FO Friday – Sam’s Hat

I am so happy to finally be writing this post and getting it out into the world. I finished this hat MONTHS ago and the only thing that has been holding me back are finished object photos. WHY? Why do I procrastinate taking those photos? I’m by no means a procrastinator in anythign except taking finished object photos. I guess we all have something.

Anyway, the hat is done. Today is Friday and I just snapped some photos of the hat. So, a FO Friday post after all!

The usual details first (especially since I’ve been MIA for a while!):
Pattern: Sam’s Hat / Tidal Yarns
Yarn: Tidal Yarns in various mini skeins
Needles: Size 5 (Colorwork) and Size 3 (brim)
Cast on: 4/12/2020
Cast off: 4/19/2020
The pattern page on Ravelry can be found here.

The hat turned out great! As expected it is so warm and cozy. I literally knit most of it up in a day and just finished up the crown the following week. The yarn is rustic, but soft. I have absolutely no itchy feeling while wearing the hat. This is a warm hat and it will be so great for days when I’m outside and it is cold out.

I’ve mentioned this at some point, but here’s a refresher of this hat. I was at the CT Sheep and Wool festival back in 2019 and Tidal Yarns was one of the first booths I went into. I was definitely drawn to the yarn. She has beautiful natural dyed yarn and the tones of the colors are muted. That is definitely my style. We spent a lot of time in that booth. I have to say in general, the people running the booth at that festival were amazing. They were all so knowledgable and patient as I asked all of my questions. I love this stuff and it was so fun to talk to people about fiber.

Hanging out with some sheep at the CT Sheep and Wool Festival in 2019!
HA! I’m totally wearing the same shirt today for my FO photos!

The hat was set up as a sample and she had kits set up with some already chosen colors put together. I knew I wanted one of the sets and so I of course bought the combination she had in the sample. I didn’t take a picture though, so it’s entirely possible that I knit them out of order, but the colors themselves are the same.

I’ve had the kit sitting on my shelves waiting to be knit up. I honestly am not sure what took so long. I’ve always wanted to make it, I think I was just always distracted by the new and shiny. We all know how that can happen.

If you stumble across Tidal Yarns, I highly recommend checking out and buying something from her. The yarn really is beautiful and if she doesn’t have this kit available still, I’m sure she has others that are well worth it. This kit was out of some worsted weight yarn, which I think is all she had? That could be totally wrong. Again, it’s a nice warm hat, but it is so cozy, I didn’t mind wearing it on this gloomy day staying inside!

It feels good to be back on the blog. Thank you all for coming back and I have another post planned for this weekend in addition to getting back on my regular WIPs posts. Let me know if there’s anything you want to read about!

You can always check out my YouTube channel if you like seeing videos as well!

agirlandherwool Advent Calendars 2020 – 8pm ET tonight!

Hello! How are you? Are you holding up okay? Crafting all the things? I sincerely hope that you are all okay and that you are finding a way to both navigate through this current pandemic. It’s not easy, but we have to push forward.

I hope I can distract you with yarny-goodness in the form of advent calendars! If you are unfamiliar with how this works, in the essence of normal advent calendars, you will receive 25 skeins of yarn that you can open one of each day. Generally, for the first 24 days, you will open 1 mini skein of yarn each day. On the 25th day, you will open 1 100g skein. I’ll have other options available, so keep reading, but that is the general idea. Oh yeah, and it all comes as a surprise!

I’ll be offering two different advent calendars based on your taste. Here’s a general idea of what they will be. The rest is a surprise!

Advent 1: Fade / Gradient
In true agirlandherwool fashion, I must offer a gradient. I love dyeing these so much and you all seem to love making with them. This set will be a gentle gradient through some wintery themed colors. It will NOT be a Christmas theme color. Think more mountains covered in snow. That’s all you get!

Advent 2: Random Mystery Skeins
I can’t help but also offer a set that will be random minis each day. There will be no theme, other than agirlandherwool, and you won’t know what to expect until you unwrap that mini each day. It’ll be a lot of fun and a huge mystery for you.

Both of the above sets are yarn only. There will not be an extra gifts in these sets.

For the agirlandherwool options, you will get to choose from the following:
1. You can pick any base I offer-
Sock – 75% SW Merino / 25% Nylon Fingering Weight
BFL Sock – 80% SW BFL/ 20% Nylon Fingering Weight- coming soon!
DK – 75% SW Merino / 25% Nylon DK Weight

2. You can select if you receive 10g minis OR 20g minis

3. You can select if you receive all 25 skeins as minis OR 24 minis plus one 100g skein for Dec 25th.

The calendars will go live in my shop, tonight at 8pm ET, so set the timers. The calendars will not ship until late October/early November and I will make sure there is enough time to receive the packages before December 1.

I’m really excited to create these and I hope you are excited about them too!

I’ll try and post more teasers throughout the year, but please feel to reach out with any questions.